NOEL KING, HOST:
A judge is throwing out some of the most serious charges against a group of Penn State fraternity members. Those charges stem from a night of hazing and heavy drinking. That night ended with the death of a fraternity pledge. NPR's Jeff Brady has the story.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Prosecutors say 19-year-old pledge Timothy Piazza was served 18 drinks at the frat house in just under an hour and a half. Security cameras recorded much of the night's events. Piazza fell down a flight of stairs twice. And prosecutors say fraternity brothers didn't call for help right away. Piazza died later at a hospital from severe head and abdominal injuries. Now a Pennsylvania judge has thrown out some of the most serious counts filed against 11 fraternity brothers.
LEONARD AMBROSE: But the charges shouldn't have been filed in the first place.
BRADY: Attorney Leonard Ambrose represents one of the fraternity brothers, Joseph Sala.
AMBROSE: The former district attorney filed charges of felony, aggravated assault, manslaughter and a host of other offenses that were all dismissed.
BRADY: That was last September. The prosecutor refiled the charges, and now they've been dismissed again. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro took over the case when the original prosecutor lost her re-election bid. Shapiro says he's disappointed by the judge's decision and is assessing legal options. This is not the end of the case. The accused could still face jail time if found guilty of other crimes such as hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors. Tom Kline is an attorney representing Timothy Piazza's family.
TOM KLINE: In the meantime, 26 individuals face 560 counts. And the Piazza family is wholeheartedly behind the prosecution not for the sake of punishment only, but for deterrence. They want to see that this never happens again.
BRADY: The Piazzas are working with families of other hazing victims around the country to push for new and stricter laws aimed at preventing hazing. Jeff Brady, NPR News, Philadelphia.
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